Stop the chop—Series Preview: Phillies at Braves, August 2 – 3

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As the calendar turns to August, we are gifted with a matchup between two of the hottest teams in the National League. The Braves and Phillies have won a combined eight straight games, and we will see at least one of these two teams have their winning streak snapped during this two-game series in Atlanta.

Ozzie Albies and Adam Duvall, two of the more consistent producers in the Braves’ lineup, will both be absent during the Phillies’ time in Atlanta. The Phillies, though, could see Jean Segura return as the road trip comes to a close. Segura began a rehab assignment with the IronPigs last week and could be back in time for game one of this quick two-game series,

Last time they met

The Phils and Braves, who met less than a week ago, have been pretty evenly matched up to this point in the season. Each team has one five games against each other in 2022, but the Phillies took two of three from Atlanta the last time they faced off.

Bryson Stott’s heroic go-ahead home run in game one led the Phillies to a late-inning comeback victory, but Spencer Strider rolled through the Phillies starting nine the following day, setting up the rubber match for game three. Charlie Morton got off to a good start, but the Phillies posted five runs in the fifth after a short inning depleted the Braves hurler. Matt Olson got the Braves back within three, but the Phillies struck back and ultimately sealed the series win.

Following an encouraging series for the Phillies, the crestfallen Braves struck back as they swept the Arizona Diamondbacks at their home stadium.

Catch up to Strider

The last time we saw Spencer Strider, it was an embarrassment for the Phillies. The tall right-hander overpowered Phillies hitters with his fastball and had them completely off-balanced when he spun a breaking ball, which wasn’t an often occurrence. Alec Bohm managed to record two hits off Strider, but that was the only bat that got going in the Phils’ lineup until Kyle Schwarber homered in the sixth..

Where has the trade deadline put the rivals?

The simple answer to the question is not too far.

The Phillies have yet to strike the market the way many anticipated, and the Braves have taken a more passive approach early on in the trade deadline season. Ten hours still loom before the deadline as this article is being posted, so a lot could still change.

Despite these teams’ slow starts in the market, there are still many names of relevance still on the board. Ian Happ, Michael A. Taylor, Ramon Laureano, Wilson Contreras, Tyler Mahle, Noah Syndergaard, and Merrill Kelly will be dealt in the next few hours. Juan Soto, Carlos Rodon, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez could all be made available for trade by their organizations right before the deadline.

But right now, the Phillies’ only acquisition is defensively-focused infielder Edmundo Sosa, and the Braves have only managed to grab Robby Grossman, Ehire Adrianza, and Jake Odorizzi.

Grossman has struggled immensely in his 2022 campaign and will likely be used against only left-handed pitchers. Jake Odorizzi has also struggled this season, but he provides the Braves with extra starting pitching depth to fill out the back of their young rotation with a seasoned veteran.

While Odorizzi could make a minor long-term impact, we will not see him at all in this series. And with a bullpen game on Tuesday and a tough righty in Zack Wheeler Wednesday, seeing Grossman would probably indicate that one of the games is a blowout.

Ehire Adrianza will likely split time with Orlando Arcia at second base until Ozzie Albies is ready to reclaim his spot at second base.

Castellanos’ month

Kyle Schwarber made history in June 2022 and June 2021.

Alec Bohm hit .296 in July of 2021 and .434 in July 2022.

When J.T. Realmuto had a career year in 2018, he hit .314 in July. This past July, he had a .358 average and a 1.065 OPS.

If you hadn’t already noticed, the Phillies’ hot bats like to run by the month, and after a disappointing start to 2022, it might finally be time for Nick Castellanos to have the breakout everyone is waiting for. Historically, Castellanos has had success in August. It is not always one of his best months based on batting average, but August has been when he begins hitting for power consistently. He had eight home runs in August 2020, and he had a slugging percentage of exactly .500 in August 2021.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Nick Nelson (RHP, 3-1, 3.94 ERA) vs. Spencer Strider (RHP, 5-3, 2.91 ERA)

Game 2: Zack Wheeler (RHP, 9-5, 2.77 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (RHP, 5-5, 4.34 ERA)

The numbers

  • Run Differential:
  • Phillies: 58
  • Braves: 80
  • Runs Scored Per Game:
  • Phillies: 4.67
  • Braves: 4.72
  • Runs Allowed Per Game:
  • Phillies: 4.1
  • Braves: 3.94

Game times and broadcasts

  • Tuesday, August 2, at 7:20pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
  • Wednesday, August 3, at 12:20pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP

Game coverage will be available through Philly Sports Reports’ Twitter page.

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